To borrow a popular quote from R W Emerson, ‘What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.’ The essence of this quote is to focus on giving our best to our work, life and values on a day-to-day basis and rest assured that our future is secure.
But a major drawback of the human race is that we are so busy worrying and stressing about the unknown future that we completely forget to concentrate on the present! Each action has an equal reaction – keeping this in mind if we live each moment with complete integrity and commitment, striving to give our best in terms of effort, values, compassion and knowledge then we need not bother about facing any negative consequences. In fact what will come back to us in the future is the rich and positive benefit of all our past actions. The vice versa is equally true – if today we sow negativity in terms of laziness, immorality, greed, selfishness and ignorance then we shall reap zilch in the future.
The Buddhist philosophy of Karma is based on this very tenet – whatever goes around, comes around; and the onus is on YOU to decide whether you wish to do good or bad. ‘Like gravity, karma is so basic that we often don’t even notice it’ (Sakyong Mipham) and cocooned in our fool’s paradise we continue wreaking havoc and committing misdeeds for quick gains in our today without giving a thought about our future.
Let us all bare our souls and introspect honestly – how many of us would like to turn back the clock and correct a misdeed, a rude word, a compromise on our principles or even a task shoddily done? I bet each and every one of us would want to do this! But we would also agree that it’s practically impossible to go back into the past and correct our mistakes. So what’s the next best option in such a scenario? Simple…do not make the same mistake(s) today which you know are irrevocable and will hang around your neck like the proverbial albatross.
H Jackson Brown has aptly said, ‘The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.’ And here by ‘doing your best’ we mean the best in every sense of the word. Give your best effort, apply all your values and morals, stay balanced and unbiased and most important be compassionate and empathetic.
Having worked in the corporate world for 23 years and being a person of strong principles to such an extent that people term me rigid I come across many live instances when upon getting disturbed or raising an issue when a colleague commits an aberration in terms of pilfering either office stationery or promotional merchandise or not paying for personal photocopies; my senior asks me to ignore the slip by saying “It’s just fine…our organization will not face a financial crisis by such minor transgressions and moreover this happens in every company. Life is not black and white, please grow up and learn to be flexible” At such times one is tempted to retort “Yes agreed that life is not black and white; but principles, ethics and morality do NOT have shades of grey – you are either honest or dishonest there’s no in-between! Moreover as an organization, isn’t it our duty to inculcate proper values and ethics in our team members as part of our culture?” But then I am made to realize and accept that ethics should be restricted to my self rather than insisting on them being made a social issue!
There is another school of thought which proclaims that all around us we see people, who are corrupt, thriving and prospering; and people, whose lives revolve around values, languishing in poverty. In such a scenario it does become difficult to propagate a value based life. My only argument is that we are only looking at the superficial level – we need to look in depth and with foresight to understand actually whose life is blissful and blessed! So, ‘Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine’ (Jack Ma).
How does one ensure that one’s effort today is in the right direction? Now that, in our modern era where values are a matter of perspective, is a difficult question! Thinkers say actions which are positive, moral, selfless and that most importantly give you a high are in the right direction. Please note, I have not included actions which ‘do not harm anybody’ in this definition. The logical reason being that a value based action will definitely harm an immoral person (and perhaps if you are lucky jolt him out of his valueless thinking!).
Rest assured that if your actions TODAY fall within the parameters of – values, detachment and positivism then your TOMORROW is blessed with peace, joy and bliss. So fasten your seatbelts as ‘The future starts today, not tomorrow’ (Pope John Paul II)
Don’t waste a single moment and live mindfully in every moment. Every action of yours has a ripple effect so be sure this effect is a positive and righteous one. You yourself are the architect of your destiny so it’s your actions today which carve your future. It’s up to you to decide whether you want your future to be bright, peaceful and constructive or if you want it to be gloomy, chaotic and full of negativity. The best part about this is that you are your own master and in control of your future every minute of the day; there’s nobody – neither a superior power nor luck which supersedes your destiny. You can just imagine how powerful your actions are. And like we all know, with power comes responsibility. So you need to be careful about your actions and your thoughts to ensure that they are in the right moral direction.
Another positive feature of this philosophy is that the blame game will end. It is human tendency to blame the stars, God, the opposite person etc for any ill fate which befalls us. But once you realize that it is your actions which shape and design your destiny then you’ll stop holding others accountable for your malaise.
From TODAY and this very moment, let’s all sit up and silently and solemnly vow to commit actions which are positive, moral, self-less and which give us a high to ensure that our TOMORROW is bright and peaceful.
I would like to end leaving all of you with the thoughts of Donald Van de Mark ‘Not only is there often a right and wrong, but what goes around does come around. Karma exists and ‘there is always a day of reckoning’. The good among the great understand that every choice you make adds to the strength or weakness of our souls. That is every human’s life work : to construct an identity bit by bit, to walk a path step by step, to live a life that is worthy of something higher, lighter, more fulfilling and maybe even everlasting’